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UPC 9 (479.22) 34 

Democratic Republic of 
Georgia (1918-1921) 

by Dr. Levan Z. Urushadze (Tbilisi; Georgia) 

ISBN 99940-0-539-1 

The Democratic Republic of Georgia (DRG. '' Sakartvelos Demokratiuli Respublika'' in 
Georgian) was the first modern establishment of a Republic of Georgia in 1918 - 1921. The 
DRG was established after the collapse of the Russian Tsarist Empire that began with the 
Russian Revolution of 1917. Its established borders were with Russia in the north, and the 
Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus, Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan in the 
south. It had a total land area of roughly 107,600 km^ (jjy conpariscq, the total area of 
today's G eorgia is 69,700 km^ ), and a population of 25 miUion. As today, its c^tal was 
Tbilisi and its state language - G eorgian. 



A Trans-Caucasian house of representatives convened on February 10, 1918, establishing 
the Trans-Caucasian Democratic Federative Republic, which existed from February, 1918 
until May, 1918. The Trans-Caucasian Democratic Federative Republic was managed by 
the Trans-Caucasian Commissariat chaired by representatives of Georgia, Azerbaijan and 
Armenia. On May 26, 1918 this Federation was abolished and Georgia declared its 


In February 1917, in Tbilisi the first meeting was organised concerning the future of 
Georgia. The main organizer of this event was an outstanding Georgian scientist and 
public benefactor, Professor Mikheil (Mikhako) Tsereteli (one of the leaders of the 
Committee of Independence of Georgia from 1914-1918). The participants at this meeting 
were: the National-Democrat Colonel David (Data) Vachnadze (since 1919 a member of the 
Parliament of Georgia), Social-Federalists General loseb G edevanishvili, Mikheil Tsereteli 
(from 1918-1920 Ambassador of Georgia in Norway) and Social-Democrats (Mensheviks) 
Noe Zhordania (since October, 1918 Chairman of the Government of DRG), Evgeni 
Gegechkori (from 1917-1918 Chairman of the Trans-Caucasian Commissariat, and, since 
May 26, 1918 - Minister of Foreign Affairs of DRG), and Meliton Kartsivadze (since 1919 
Member of the Parliament of Georgia). They decided to proclaim the independence of 

In 1917, in accordance with this, the Autocephaly (independence) of the Georgian 
Orthodox and Apostolic Church was restored. 

On May 22, 1918, in Batumi (administrative center of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara 
of Georgia), the second meeting was organized, by Professor Zurab Avalishvili 
(outstanding Georgian scientist, diplomat and public benefactor). The participants of this 
meeting were: Zurab Avalishvili (representing the National-Democratic Party of Georgia), 
Noe Zhordania (representing the Social-Democratic Party), Akaki Chkhenkeli 
(representing the Social-Democratic Party), Niko Nikoladze (Outstanding Georgian public 
benefactor and writer. Honorary Chairman and one of the founders of the Georgian 
National-Democratic Party) and Petre Surguladze (representing the National-Democratic 
Party). After this meeting, Zurab Avalishvili created the document which became the 
" Declaration of State Independence of G eorgia" . 

The "Declaration of the State Independence of Georgia" was adopted by the National 
Council of Georgia on May 26, 1918 (see photo). Many prominent Georgian politicians and 
public figures, as well as many guests attended, among them General Schulenburg. Thus 
was created the government of the Democratic Republic of Georgia. The first Chairman of 
the Government was Noe Ramishvili, a Social-Democrat). Among members of the 
Government were representatives of the Social-Democratic Party, the Social-Federalists, 
the National-Democratic Party, and the Social-Revolutioners. 


TBILISI, MAY 26,1918 

After October, 1918, the government was ruled by Noe Zhordania (leader of the Georgian 
Social-Democratic (Menshevik) Party). 

The Chairman of the National Parliament was Nikolay (Karlo) Chkheidze (one of leaders 
of the Social-Democratic Party), the Deputy Chairman was an outstanding Georgian 
historian and public benefactor. Professor Ekvtime Takaishvili (one of the leaders of the 
Georgian National-Democratic Party), and the 2nd Deputy Chairman was Alexandre 
Lomtatidze (Social-Democrat). It was an established multiparty system: among the 
members of the G overnment and the Parliament were also representatives of the National- 
Democratic Party, the Party of Georgian Social-Federalists, Party of Social-Revolutioneers 
and other political organizations. The Parliament had 130 members. Famous Members of 
the Parliament were: Revaz (Rezo) Gabashvili (National-Democrat), Samson Pirtskhalava 
(Social-Federalist), Seit Devdariani (Social-Democrat), Vasil Tsereteli (National- 
Democrat), Dr. Giorgi Gvazava (National-Democrat), Meliton Kartsivadze (Social- 
Democrat), lason Javakhishvili (National-Democrat), Irakli (Kaki) Tsereteli (Social- 
Democrat), Levan Natadze (Social-Democrat), Alexandre Tsereteli (Social-Federalist), 
loseb Dadiani (National-Democrat), Razhden Arsenidze (Social-Democrat), Shalva 
Amirejibi (National-Democrat), etc. 

In 1919 free, democratic multiparty elections were held and a National Parliament 
(Dampudznebeli Kreba in G eorgian) of the Democratic Republic of G eorgia elected. 

The independence of the Democratic Republic of Georgia was de jure recognized by 
Romania, Argentina, Germany, Turkey, Belgium, United Kingdom, France, Japan, Italy, 
Poland, Czech Republic, and Russia, among other countries. 

On February 21, 1921 the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of G eorgia was adopted 
by the Parliament. The Parliament proclaimed with this Constitution an absolute equality 
of race and sex, freedom of the press and the speech, freedom of religion and all other basic 

freedoms. Also adopted were other important legal acts among them: Law about the 
Regular Army (1918), Law about the Education (1918), Law about the State Language 
(1918), Act about the "People's Council of Abkhazia" (1918), Law about the Citizenship 
(1919), etc. 

From late 1919 to early 1920, the government of Bolshevik Russia achieved decisive success 
in all points of the Russian Civil War. The policy of Great Britain had failed in "the 
Russian Problem" . After that there was raised a question: how best to direct attention to 
the national states in the Trans-Caucasus (Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia) formed 
from the former tsarist Russian Empire? Early on, France and Italy continued to be 
passive and gave up their activities in the Russian post-imperial space. 

In January 27, 1921 Great Britain, together with the allied countries, recognized the 
Democratic Republic of Georgia de jure in an attempt to block Soviet Russia from 
reabsorbing Georgia. However, on February 25, 1921, the Bolshevik Russia's Red Army 
reoccupied the country and Georgia became a Soviet Republic. In March, 1921, the legal 
Parliament and G overnment of the DRG were forced to leave G eorgia. 


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Georgia was then merged with Armenia and Azerbaijan to form the Trans-Caucasian 
Soviet Federalist Republic, one of the republics of the former Soviet Empire. 

Guerilla resistance in 1921-1924 was followed by a large-scale patriotic Uprising in August, 
1924. General Konstantine (Kote) Abkhazi, General Nestor Gardapkhadze and Colonel 
Kaikhosro (Kakutsa) Cholokashvili were the most prominent guerilla leaders. 

On April 9, 1991 the independence of Georgia was restored when the "Act about the 
Restoration of State Independence of G eorgia" was adopted by the Supreme C ouncil of the 
Republic of G eorgia. 


In the Ministry of Defence of the Democratic Republic of Georgia worked many famous 
Georgian Generals and Officers: Gen. Kote Abkhazi, Gen. Giorgi Kvinitadze, Gen. Giorgi 
Mazniashvili, Gen. Alexandre Andronikashvili, Gen. Varden Tsulukidze, Gen. Alexandre 
Chkheidze, Gen. Nestor G ardapkhadze. Gen. Zakaria (Shakro) Bakradze, Gen. Leo 
Kereselidze, Colonel Kakutsa Cholokashvili, Colonel Parnaoz Karalashvili, Colonel 
Elizbar Gulisashvili; Colonel David Vachnadze^ Colonel Solomon Zaldastanishvili; Colonel 
Svimon Tsereteli, Colonel Erekle (Eko) Tsereteli, Colonel Rostom Muskhelishvili, Colonel 
Dimitri Chrdileli, etc. But, unfortunately, the National Army of Georgia has not a proper 
favour of the Menshevik Government of Zhordania. Main role was given to the troops of 
Georgian Mensheviks - the so-called "People's Guard". The commanders of this military 
group was completed by the diletantes. 



On 1918 was founded the Tbilisi Military School. The head of this school was a 
distinguished Georgian military figure, Colonel Alexandre Chkheidze (later Major General 
of the Polish Army). 

Education, science and culture 

Important educational, cultural and scientific centers of the Democratic Republic of 
Georgia included: the Tbilisi State University (TSU), the Military School in Tbilisi, 
Gymnasiums in Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi, Ozurgeti, Poti and Gori, the Pedagogical 
Seminary in Gori, the Pedagogical Seminary for Women, the State Museum of Georgia 
(Tbilisi), the State Theatres in Tbilisi and Kutaisi, Tbilisi State Opera Theatre, Tbilisi State 
Academy of Art, the Union of Georgian Writers, the Public Libraries of Tbilisi and 
Kutaisi, the Physical Observatory in Tbilisi, the Central Scientific Archive of Georgia, 
State Scientific Council of Georgia, Central Botanical G arden in Tbilisi, Botanical G ardens 
in Sokhumi, Batumi and Bakuriani, etc. 


Main newspapers of DRG were: "Sakartvelos Respublika", " Sakartvelo" , "Ertoba", 
"Samshoblo", "Sakhalkho Sakme", "The Georgian Messenjer" (in English) and "The 
Georgian Mail" (in English), etc. 




Outstanding representatives of Georgian culture and science were: Niko Nikoladze, Vasil 
Barnovi (Barnaveli); Konstantine (Kote) Makashvili, Niko Lordkipanidze, Konstantine 
Gamsakhurdia (father of the first President of the Republic of Georgia in 1991-1993, Dr. 
Zviad Gamsakhurdia), Pavle Ingorokva, David Kldiashvili, Grigol Robakidze, Shalva 
Amirejibi, Ekaterine Gabashvili, Tedo Sakhokia, Shalva Dadiani, loseb (Soso) 
Grishashvili, Galaktion Tabidze, Zakaria Paliashvili, Meliton Balanchivadze (George 
Balanchine's father), Vano Sarajishvili, Alexandre (Sandro) Akhmeteli, Gigo Gabashvili, 
Mose Toidze, lakob Nikoladze, David Kakabadze, Alexandre Tsagareli, Petre Melikishvili, 
Ivane Javakhishvili, Andria Benashvili, Andria Razmadze, Nikoloz (Niko) Muskhelishvili, 
Shalva Nutsubidze, Giorgi Akhvlediani, Luarsab Andronikashvili, Vakhtang 
Muskhelishvili, Alexandre Aladashvili, Grigol Tsereteli, Ekvtime Takaishvili, Zurab 
Avalishvili, Giorgi Gechtman, Mikheil (Mikhako) Tsereteli, Sargis Kakabadze, Zakaria 
Kanchaveli, Dimitri Uznadze, Konstantine (Kote) Amirejibi, Solomon Kurdiani, Solomon 
Cholokashvili, etc. 

Industm and A griculture 

The Manganese Industry in G eorgia (Manganese of Chiatura) had very great importance 
for European Metallurgy (about 70% of the manganese industry of the world in 1920s- 

very important are G eorgian mineral waters (" Borjomi" , " Nabeglavi" , " Sairme" , etc.). 

Important were also the Ports of Poti, Sokhumi and Batumi. 

Georgia is a traditional agrarian country with well-developed Gardening, Viticulture and 
Wine-making (Georgia is a classical country of viticulture and wine-making). 


"Legal Acts of the D em era tic Republic of G eorgia (1918-1921)" , T bilisi; 1990 (in 


I. Tseretelli, " Separation de la Transcaucasie et de la Russie et Independance de la 

Georgie", Paris, Imprimerie Chaix, 1919 (in French) 

P. Surguladze, " The international importance of the independence of G eorgia" , 

Istanbul, 1918 (in Georgian) 

P. Surguladze, " G eorgia as the independent country" , Istanbul, 1918 (in G eorgian) 

D. G hambashidze, " Mineral resources of G eorgia and Caucasia. Manganese 

industry of Georgia", London, 1919 

K. Salia, "The History of Georgian Nation", Paris, 1983 

Al. Manvelichvili, " Histoire de la Georgie", Paris, 1951 (in French) 

Z. Avalishvili, " The Independence of G eorgia in the International Politics of 1918- 

1921", Paris, 1923 (in Russian) 

K. Kandelaki, " The G eorgian Question Before the Free World" , Paris, 1951 

G . Kvinitadze, " My answer" , Paris, 1954 (in G eorgian) 

J an V. Nanuashvili, "What everyone in the Free World should know about Russia" , 

Vantage Press, New York - Washington - Hollywood, 1973 

V. Tevzadze, " The memoirs of the G eorgian Officer" .- J . " Iveria" , No 32, Paris, 

1988 (in Georgian) 

N. Matikashvili, M. Kvaliashvili, "Cadets" .- J . " Iveria" , No 32, Paris, 1988 (in 


. J anelidze, " From May 26 to February 25" , Tbilisi, 1990 (in G eorgian) 

G. Mazniashvili, "The Memoirs", Batumi, 1990 (in Georgian) 

L. Urushadze, " Bolshevism-Menshevism and the Democratic Republic of Georgia 

(1918-1921)" , 2nd edition. Publishing House " Ena da Kultura" , Tbilisi, 2005, ISBN 

99940-23-56-X (in Georgian, English summary) 

R. Tsukhishvili, "The English-Georgian Relations (1918-1921)", Tbilisi, 1995 (in 

Georgian, English summary) 

• "Kartuli Idea - The Georgian Idea" by Dr. Levan Z. Urushadze.- 

httD://M/M/\\/. urushadze 98/G eoraia.html ,2005, ISBN 99940-0- 

Created by Dr. Lewn Z. Urushadze (Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia) 


© Dr. Levan Z. Urushadze